Police See Bias Motive for New Hampshire Mosque Vandalism

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/17/13) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, said today that law enforcement authorities in New Hampshire are investigating a bias motive for extensive vandalism of the construction site for the Islamic Society of Greater Manchester.

CAIR said the vandalism, which cost more than $30,000 to repair and included a number of smashed windows and attempted arson, occurred in July but was not determined to be bias-motivated until recently. The perpetrators were caught on video surveillance cameras.

The mosque site was targeted with a similar act of vandalism in April.  Muslim community leaders and local police told CAIR that the juvenile perpetrators bragged of the vandalism online and left comments on anti-Muslim hate sites. Officials say New Hampshire does not have a hate crime statute but that a judge can hand down an enhanced sentence if the alleged vandals are convicted.

CAIR-SFBA, LAS-ELC Win Judgment Against Abercrombie & Fitch in Hijab Case: Look-conscious retailer found liable for religious discrimination in firing of Muslim worker

(SAN FRANCISCO, CA, 9/9/13) — The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SFBA) and the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center (LAS-ELC) today announced a legal victory in a lawsuit against clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch over the firing of a Muslim worker who refused to remove her religiously-mandated hijab (headscarf) as a condition for keeping her job.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that Abercrombie and Fitch violated federal and state civil rights laws against workplace discrimination when it fired Hani Khan in 2010 for refusing to remove her hijab. The lawsuit, which was filed by CAIR-SFBA, LAS-ELC and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sought to vindicate Khan’s rights against religious discrimination in the workplace.

In her 25-page decision, Judge Gonzalez Rogers resoundingly rejected Abercrombie’s “undue burden” defense. The decision stated in part:

“Abercrombie only offers unsubstantiated opinion testimony of its own employees to support its claim of undue hardship. Abercrombie failed to proffer any evidence from those four months showing a decline in sales in the Hillsdale store; customer complaints or confusion; or brand damage linked to Khan’s wearing of a hijab.”

 

“At the heart of this case is the belief that no one should ever have to choose between their religion and work,” said Zahra Billoo, executive director of CAIR-SFBA. “All Americans have a right to reasonable religious accommodation in the workplace, and for Muslim women this includes the right to wear a hijab to work.”

This court is the second in the Northern District of California to find that Abercrombie cannot demonstrate that it is an undue hardship to accommodate employees who wear hijabs.  Earlier this year, Abercrombie similarly failed to justify its refusal to hire a woman who applied to work at an Abercrombie Kids store in Milpitas.

A Candid Conversation Between a RABBI and an IMAM About Issues That Divide Jews and Muslims

New Book With a Foreword from PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON In SONS OF ABRAHAM

Rabbi Schneier and Imam Ali pool their collective wisdom and compassion to achieve the unthinkable: They plot a realistic course towards a peaceful, co- existing future for the world’s Jews and Muslims—one that begins with understanding the fundamental similarities between the two faiths, and then cultivating mutual respect and appreciation for the differences.

Featuring a stirring, urgent foreword by President Bill Clinton (plus a nuanced introduction by renowned New York Times journalist Samuel G. Freedman), SONS OF ABRAHAM is the first time two leading religious figures from Judaism and Islam have come together for this crucial dialogue and published the results in book form.

The two authors alternate chapters, beginning with each describing his early years—in doing so exposing the dark roots of the anti-Semitism and Islamophobia that many young Muslims and Jews are still being taught today by their teachers and communities. – See more at:

NYC defends Muslim surveillance in court; plaintiffs say suspicions were based on innuendo

NEW YORK — The New York Police Department had legitimate reasons to put specific mosques and Muslim worshippers under surveillance as part of its counterterrorism efforts, a city lawyer said Thursday at the first court date in a civil rights lawsuit accusing the NYPD of religious profiling.

Peter Farrell of the city Law Department argued that before the case goes forward, the city should be allowed to present evidence specific to the six plaintiffs that he said would prove police were acting with legitimate law enforcement purposes. If the judge agrees, “then this case is over,” he said.

An American Civil Liberties Union attorney, Hina Shamsi, countered that her clients already had sufficient legal standing to sue the city and that the NYPD should be ordered to begin turning over sensitive reports and documents detailing the alleged spying on Muslims.

In a letter filed on Tuesday, city lawyers outlined evidence they say shows that a security team at a mosque named as a plaintiff in the suit sponsored survival training outings and referred to team members as “jihad warriors.” Another plaintiff mosque was frequented by a man convicted earlier this year of lying to the FBI about plans to team up with the Taliban or al-Qaida, the letter said.

The NYPD didn’t target particular mosques “simply because the attendees were Muslim,” the letter said. “Rather, the NYPD followed leads suggesting that certain individuals in certain mosques may be engaging in criminal and possibly terrorist activity.”

In response, the ACLU accused the city of vilifying its clients “through inflammatory and insinuation and innuendo, suggesting (they) are worthy of criminal investigation on the basis of First Amendment-protected speech, activities or attenuated — and unwitting — association alone.”

It added: “This strategy is a deliberate distraction at best. At worst, it verges on the very type of discriminatory and meritless profiling at the heart of this case.”

American Jihadist Is Believed to Have Been Killed by His Former Allies in Somalia

NAIROBI, Kenya — A young man from Alabama who traveled to Somalia and became an infamous Islamist militant, commanding guerrilla forces and earning a $5 million American bounty on his head, was believed to have been killed by his former extremist allies on Thursday, according to news reports and Islamist Web sites.

The jihadist, Omar Hammami, known for his rap-infused propaganda videos for the Shabab, a brutal Islamist group in Somalia, was reported killed in an ambush on Thursday morning. If true, his death would bring to a close one of the more unusual chapters in more than two decades of fighting in the Horn of Africa.

 

But Mr. Hammami, also known by the nom de guerre Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki, “the American,” has been declared dead before, only to resurface alive.

There is little question that Mr. Hammami has been on the run from his former comrades. His recent troubles brought to the surface rifts within militant circles in Somalia, particularly between foreign fighters and Somalis. In a Twitter message in April, Mr. Hammami said the group’s leader had “gone mad” and was “starting a civil war.”

J. M. Berger, the editor of the Web site Intelwire.com and author of the book “Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam,” said that it appeared this time that Mr. Hammami had indeed been killed.

Mr. Berger, who has been monitoring hundreds of Shabab-related social media accounts for over a year, cited a death notice on a Jihadi Web site that had supported the American militant and posted interviews with him in the past.

 

The son of a Southern Baptist mother and a Syrian Muslim father, Mr. Hammami was raised in Daphne, Ala., where he was a gifted student and high school class president. He later embraced the ultraconservative form of Islam known as Salafism before ultimately moving to Somalia in 2006 to fight for the Shabab.

 

The charismatic American fighter was a propaganda coup for the Somali militants. He worked on recruitment and handled financial affairs for the group. But Mr. Hammami was more than just a YouTube sensation and back-office militant. He is believed to have personally commanded forces in the field and organized guerrilla attacks.

 

He did not consider his native land off limits. “It’s quite obvious that I believe America is a target,” he wrote in an e-mail to The New York Times in 2010.

 

Growing up in Daphne, a city of 23,000 on Mobile Bay, Mr. Hammami loved Kurt Cobain and Nintendo and dabbled in drugs. But he also attended Bible camp. His decision to join a violent group responsible for beheadings and forced amputations was especially bewildering to family and friends.

 

Nashville rabbi offers Murfreesboro mosque trip on Yom Kippur

The rabbi of Nashville’s largest and longest-practicing synagogue used the most holy night of the Jewish year to invite his congregation on an unusual trip.

Going to the beleaguered mosque in Murfreesboro, he told them Friday, is part of Yom Kippur’s call to introspection.

“It’s the day that we look into our most honest selves and we have to wrestle with ourselves — not just to do what is the easy or comfortabl thing — but that which is courageous and filled with strength of conscience,” said Rabbi Mark Schiftan of The Temple-Congregation Ohabai Sholom.

The congregation will load up on buses Oct. 27 and travel to the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro for food and conversation, Schiftan said Saturday. While Jews and Muslims are often in conflict overseas, they’re both religious minorities in the U.S. The meeting gives both congregations the opportunity to ask questions and affirm their appreciation of the First Amendment right to practice their religions.

While Muslims have been meeting in Murfreesboro for decades, their newly opened mosque faced a number of tribulations, from burning of equipment on the construction site to a legal effort to prevent the building’s use.

Announcement of a Muslim Legal Defence League

Le Figaro

17.09.2013

Following the official launch of the “Muslim Legal Defence League” (“Ligue de défense judiciare des musulmans”) by the former lawyer Karim Achoulai this summer, their first action was announced to be a complaint to be made against the French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo for their publication of caricatures depicting the Quran last week.

The objective of the group is to “legally defend individual victims of discrimination based on their associated or actual appearance linked to Islam and their religious belief”. The group aims to legally challenge Islamophobia and aid individuals who have suffered discrimination because of their belief.

Le Pen wants collaborate with Geert Wilders

Le Monde

 

15.09.2013

 

In a recent interview with the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad, Marine Le Pen, the leader of the right-wing party Front Nationale (FN), expressed her wish to collaborate with the Dutch right-wing party, Freedom Party (PVV), led by Geert Wilders, for the upcoming European election campaign. Le Pen intents to shows right-wing voters in Europe that xenophobic and racist national movements, which she terms as ‘patriotic’, aren’t isolated but exist in every EU member state. Both parties are infamous for their anti-immigrant, islamophobic and pro-white Christian rhetoric.

 

Despite the many similarities, however, the leader of the FN acknowledges differences with Wilders in regards to the subject of Muslims and Islam. In her view, she has “nothing against the religion itself”, but is predominantly concerned and against the “influ of Muslim immigrants and the visibility of Islam in society”. Wilders, the author of the controversial Islam critical film “Fitna”, on the other hand is all together against the prohibition of the Quran which he compares to Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”.

Former Member of Freedom Party to Start Islamic Party in the Netherlands

10 September 2013

Arnoud van Doorn, a former member of the Freedom Party (PVV) in the Netherlands, and a convert to Islam, has announced that he will launch a political party founded on Islamic principles. Van Doorn was a member of the PVV until the end of 2011, when he was removed due to financial irregularities. He remains as an independent candidate on the city council in The Hague. Van Doorn made his announcement via Twitter this week, though the news repeats a similar announcement in March 2013 when he also provided an interview to Al Jazeera. Van Doorn has yet to provide a name or substantive details about the party.

Islamic Secondary School in Rotterdam to Close

10 September 2013

Ibn Ghaldoun School, the Rotterdam secondary school which was the focus of an exam theft earlier this year, is to lose its government funding and close down. According to Sander Dekker, the Netherlands’ Junior Education Minister, the closure is based on a recommendation from school inspectors.

The school has financial difficulties, and according to Dekker, almost 80% of its upper school teachers do not have sufficient levels of Dutch or educational qualification.

The school was the scene of an exam theft in May 2013, when it emerged that 27 national exam papers had been stolen and distributed to students.

Two years ago, Amsterdam’s only Islamic secondary school was also closed due to standards and financial difficulties. The country has some 40 Islamic primary schools.